Diarrhea in dogs – causes, what to do and prevention

As a dog owner, you certainly find yourself in an undesirable situation where your dog has diarrhea , and you are not sure what that means. Diarrhea in dogs is characterized by a soft stool that can be short-lived or chronic. The causes range from simply a sudden change in diet to a more serious illness.

When you notice that the dog has a soft stool, ie diarrhea, pay attention to other symptoms that may be indicative of an illness. The accompanying symptoms of diarrhea can be vomiting , loss of appetite and weight, fever , abdominal pain, etc.

If your dog is very young, very old, or has a certain illness, be sure to consult your veterinarian about caring for your dog in case of diarrhea.

Below, find out what are the possible causes of diarrhea, what the appearance and color of the stool say about the severity of the condition and what you can do to help your dog.

Causes of diarrhea in dogs

The causes of diarrhea in dogs are many and vary depending on the duration of the condition. The most common cause of diarrhea in a healthy dog is:

  • stress,
  • sudden change of diet,
  • taking spoiled food or junk,
  • viral, bacterial or parasitic infection.

Frequent diarrhea (chronic) in a dog can be caused by:

  • diet allergy or intolerance,
  • certain parasites,
  • bacterial infections,
  • pancreatitis,
  • inflammation of the intestine,
  • some cancers,
  • diseases outside the gastrointestinal tract.

The appearance of diarrhea in dogs and the meaning

If you notice that the dog has diarrhea, it is important to look at the chair. The consistency and color of diarrhea may be indicative of a more serious condition. Also, keep track of the possible side effects mentioned earlier.

It is recommended that you consult a veterinarian if the dog has one of the diarrhea described below.

Watery diarrhea in dogs

Watery diarrhea can be a sign of stress, viral or parasitic infection . Diarrhea like this can very quickly lead to dehydration (especially in young dogs) so make sure your dog is getting enough fluid.

If you notice white spots or worms in diarrhea then it is definitely a parasitic infection.

Mucous diarrhea in dogs

Mucus-containing diarrhea may be an indicator of the presence of parvoviruses or parasites .

Bloody diarrhea in dogs

If you notice blood in your dog’s diarrhea, it may indicate colitis, proctitis or other serious problems. In this case, take him or her to the vet as soon as possible.

Black diarrhea in dogs

Diarrhea that is black in the dog may be an indicator of internal bleeding of the stomach or small intestine. Have your dog urgently examined by a veterinarian.

What’s Good For Dog Diarrhea?

Dog diarrhea usually stops after a few days of home care. If your dog is healthy and has diarrhea, you can do a few things.

It is important that the dog has access to fresh water to avoid dehydration. Encourage the dog to drink, and add chicken stock if necessary.

It is often recommended to avoid giving the dog food for 12-24 hours while he has diarrhea. Avoiding food is not recommended if the dog is very young, old or young, because such dogs need nutrients. It is best to consult a veterinarian about proper nutrition and possible food deprivation in the case of your dog.

If the dog continues to have diarrhea after 48 hours and his condition worsens, be sure to call a vet.

Dog diarrhea – nutrition

Certain foods can help restore a normal stool to a dog if it is not a diarrhea-causing illness. If you decide to deny your dog food for 12-24 hours due to diarrhea, you can give him one of the following foods.

  • Rice water – Cook rice in plenty of water. Remove the rice and give the dog the boiling water.
  • White rice and potatoes with bark – carbohydrates and fiber can contribute to a normal stool in dogs.
  • Yogurt – The bacteria in yogurt can help dogs that tolerate milk and dairy products.
  • Protein – A pure source of protein such as eggs (cooked) and chicken (skinless and boneless).
  • Special Dog Food – There is food that is made to help ease digestive problems in dogs. Sometimes you need to buy this kind of food from a vet.

Not every food will necessarily help every dog, so you may need to experiment with these foods before finding one that suits your dog.

When you find recovery foods that are right for your dog, you can gradually increase your food intake. After a couple of days, you can start adding some normal dog food to your dog until his stool is normal.

Dog diarrhea – activated charcoal

Melted medical charcoal is often prescribed as a means of treating diarrhea in dogs. It is purchased at the pharmacy and is given on the recommendation of a veterinarian. It is given for a maximum of four days, ie until the stool is normal.

Diarrhea prevention in dogs

To reduce the chances of diarrhea in dogs, follow these instructions:

  • do not abruptly alter your dog’s diet,
  • don’t give the dog bone as a toy (prefer giving it a bone shaped rubber toy),
  • don’t let your dog play with small objects that he can swallow,
  • don’t give the dog leftovers from the table,
  • do not allow your dog access to trash and spoiled food,
  • monitor when you need to vaccinate a dog and clean it of worms

What do you think?

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Written by Radica

Smarty PantsBookwormWordsmith BuddyContent Author


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  1. Excellent post again. Are you a dog owner by any chance? My last dog Tasha had frequent short bouts of diarrhea which the vet never figured out the cause. Despite this she lived till the ripe age of 13… when we had to have her euthanized for a totally diffetent problem. I still miss her today.

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